The special theory of relativity describes the motion and dynamics of objects moving at significant fractions of the speed of light.

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Can two distinct events occur at precisely the same moment in time?

I am writing a simulation and am having difficulty resolving the order in which two distinct forces occur. The simulation will give different results if the forces are applied to the state in ...
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220 views

What does Weinberg–Witten theorem want to express?

Weinberg-Witten theorem states that massless particles (either composite or elementary) with spin $j > 1/2$ cannot carry a Lorentz-covariant current, while massless particles with spin $j > 1$ ...
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Travelling at the speed of light [closed]

more of a philosophical questions normally if you are travelling at some speed and you bump into some object, you generally would get slowed down and the force from your acceleration would be ...
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80 views

Does matter become energy at the speed of light? [closed]

According to modern physics, we can't push matter to the speed of light. It would slow down (relative to its environment). But theoretically, if matter were to travel the speed of light, would it ...
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397 views

Exact definition of momentarily comoving reference frame (MCRF)

Consider a particle $P$ in the framework of special relativity with position $r(t)=(ct,x(t),y(t),z(t))$ respect to an inertial reference frame $\Sigma=(ct,x,y,z;O)$. I need to know if the following ...
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74 views

Transformation to a uniformly rotating frame

I'm midway through a problem at the beginning of a GR course, my question is simply this: If $$ x=x'\cos\Omega t-y'\sin\Omega t $$ where $x'$ and $y'$ indicate the rotated frame of reference. What ...
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37 views

Phase velocity greater then the speed of light?

It is my understanding the the phase velocity of a wave can be greater then the speed of light. So imagine we had a wave packet consisting of a single sinusoidal wave; $$y=sin(\omega t-kx)$$ Then ...
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5answers
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How a spacecraft travelling near light speed avoid asteroids?

How would a spacecraft traveling near light speed avoid a (relatively dense group of) asteroids? Or suppose such spacecraft is designed, how would the physics work for steering it inside such a ...
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4answers
331 views

Can we change a photon's frequency in mid-air?

Can we have a light source emitting photons in the infrared range and after, lets say, 5 meters, these photons become a photon in the x-ray range? The only way I know we can change a photon's ...
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71 views

How can the 'choice' of a photon said to be delayed?

My question arises from two ideas that seem to be contradictory. Idea One: Wheeler's Delayed Choice experiment is an interesting variation of the double slit experiment. Idea Two: In the "reference ...
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74 views

Vector representations of Lorentz transformation in terms of $E$ and $p$

Hello everybody the things I understand are the transformation properties of a four vector given as $\tag{1} p^\mu = \Lambda^\mu_{\,\,\nu} p^\nu.$ and an arbitrarily boosted transformation is of the ...
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Double light speed

Let's say we have $2$ particles facing each other and traveling at speed of light Let's say I'm sitting on #$1$ particle so in my point of view #$2$ particle's speed is $c+c=2c$, double light speed? ...
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What is the universal speed limit relative to? [duplicate]

If all speeds are relative, then what "governing" force is that speed limit relative to? Is there some sort of fixed or absolute grid with locations everything is compared to? Does this also mean ...
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Is it possible to stop time? [duplicate]

Assuming the spacetime principle, if the space is modified the time does too. So if the velocity in the space is increase, does the time slow down? What happens if the speed is the speed of light, ...
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1answer
106 views

Time-reversed twin paradox

This started with wondering about the nature of certain physical quantities under time-reversal - chiefly, that acceleration retains its magnitude and direction at a given time regardless of the ...
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53 views

Special relativity: can the velocity of a free object be discontinuous relative to an accelerated observer who stops accelerating?

Suppose an observer ${\it {\mathcal O}}$ leaves point O*, origin of the Minkowski frame K*, in the $O^{*}x^{*} $ direction, with a uniform acceleration $a_{0} $ (as measured by himself) ...
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2answers
109 views

Explain the notion of light/electromagnetic waves/photons to a non-physicist

A non-physicist asked me about special relativity. My explanations naturally were based on gedankenexperiments involving light. This forced the question: "What is light? It is particles, isn't? Or is ...
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1answer
43 views

Relativistic addition of velocities in the y-direction? [closed]

I've been having some difficulty with the problem described below, please have a look: Two particles with identical masses (m) undergo a collision. Before the collision they move with velocities ...
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The limited Computing Capabilities of Space, Increased quantized info leads to time-dilation?

Are there any approaches to Special and General Relativity using space as a computing medium? With space having a maximum computing capability and time dilation as lag? Could this idea describe the ...
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Length contraction alongside acceleration

Let's have a ship, a target and a ship traveler which we use as point of view. Assuming no other object are observed and we are so far from any other object that gravity distortion are negligible, I'm ...
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2answers
57 views

Behavior of mass approaching the speed of light

I would like some clarification on the behavior of relativistic mass as it approaches the speed of light. I am a high school student with an interest in physics so chances are I will have a hard time ...
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1answer
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Simultaneous observations in relativity

Consider an object which responds to two different signals A and B: it responds to signal A with blue color and signal B with red color. Also, it responds only to the signal that reached first. In ...
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55 views

Doppler shift and special relativity

I have been listening to an audio course on Special Relativity. In the course the teacher repeatedly says that the "laws of physics are equally valid for all uniformly moving frames of reference". ...
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1answer
41 views

Minkowski Diagram for Time-Like Separated Events

A while ago, I asked a question if two events are always simultaneous in some reference frame. I received excellent answers. The point is that if $E_1$ and $E_2$ are time-like separated with time ...
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Do the integral forms of Maxwell's Equations have limited applicability because of retardation?

In the usual bookwork treatment, it is easy to show that the differential and integral forms of Maxwell's equations are equivalent using Gauss's and Stokes's theorems. I have always thought that ...
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Proving the Lorentz invariance of the Lorentz invariant phase space element

I have been looking around for a satisfactory answer to prove that $$\frac{d^3\vec{p}}{2E_{\vec{p}}}$$ where $E_{\vec{p}}=+\sqrt{(|\vec{p}|c)^2+(mc^2)^2}$, is Lorentz invariant. The standard answer ...
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How did special relativity change physicists views on the two prominent inverse square laws (ie Newton grav and Coulomb's law)?

On page 107 in Hartle's Gravity -- An introduction to Einstein's General Relativity, he says the following With the success of special relativity it became apparent that the Newtonian theory of ...
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Doppler shift for a uniformly accelerating observer

This was given in textbook as an example. An observer on a spaceship with a four velocity $u$ is approaching from $x = +\infty$ a star at rest in the reference frame $S$ while undergoing constant ...
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To what fraction of the speed-of-light has any multi-atom molecule (or polyatomic ion) been accelerated?

Of course photons go $c$ in a vacuum, and seems there's data on electrons getting to $0.999999999976c$ and protons to $0.99999912c$. For the twins paradox to be plausible, one of the twins must ...
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386 views

Are length contractions limited by Planck length?

While we are getting closer to speed of light our length in the direction of the movement is according to Lorentz transformation getting shorter. But we can not (even theoretically) consider length ...
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Why is the scalar product of four-velocity with itself -1?

My GR book Hartle says the scalar product of four-velocity with itself $-1$? Consider the definition of four velocity $\mathbf{u} = \frac{dx^{\alpha}}{d\tau}$. Suppose I take the scalar product of ...
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Why is the relativistic Lorentz factor defined this way? [duplicate]

My question is: why has the Lorentz factor the form $$\gamma = \dfrac{1}{\sqrt{1 - \dfrac{v^2}{c^2}}}$$ and not, for example one of those: $$\gamma = \dfrac{1}{\sqrt{1 - \dfrac{v}{c}}}$$ or ...
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Do tachyons move faster than light?

I am trying to understand whether or not tachyons travel faster than light. The linked Wikipedia page shows some seemingly contradictory statements, and they are confusing. For instance, the first ...
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210 views

Does space between objects contract?

I had a question, let us assume a coordinate system where there is 2 objects moving at relativistic speeds (at same velocity) for the observer therefore the observer will observe the length ...
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6answers
138 views

Confused about Lorentz contraction

My son asked me the following question which I can't answer in a simple way. A frame $O'$ has speed $v$ relative to $O$. A photon travelling along the $x'$-axis in frame $O'$ over a distance $L'$ ...
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Observed speed of light [duplicate]

Suppose two very fast trains, train $A$ traveling a constant speed of $.5c$ and train $B$ traveling at a constant speed $.75c$, are on the same straight track heading straight towards one another. If ...
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75 views

What is the fastest speed that a massive object can travel at? [duplicate]

What is the fastest speed (in miles per hour) that a massive object can travel at? I have heard that an object can travel at the speed of light, but I've also heard that massive objects cannot travel ...
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Quantum relativistic effects

I was performing a thought experiment: let us assume an object is traveling so close to the speed of light that the length of the object is small enough for quantum effects to become noticeable to a ...
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States in light cone string theory

Currently I'm trying to understand string theory in the light cone quantization. I just have had a look into Polchinski (Vol. 1, Introduction to the bosonic string), because – as far as I could see – ...
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Time dilation due to change in speed

I can't get something strait... Lets use the usual example: A man is flying away from earth on a very fast spaceship. So, His time is now not moving in the same "speed" like earth time but slower. But ...
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Has light been used to measure relative velocity?

Here we have 2 lasers. Both are in the same frame of reference as is top box. Laser #1 sends the light directly through the hole in the top box on one side and the light eventually exits the hole ...
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Mass-velocity-relation for tachyon

Suppose that $m = \gamma m_0$ with $$\gamma = \left(1-\frac{u^2}{c^2}\right)^{-\frac{1}{2}}$$ is valid for tachyons, where $m$ is the mass of the tachyon and $u$ its velocity. Since $u>c$, the rest ...
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Proof of Lorentz contraction?

The measurement of the flux of muons at the Earth's surface shows that many more muons are detected than would be expected, based on their mean half-lifetime of 2,2 microseconds. This is a good proof ...
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Violation of Newton's 3rd law and momentum conservation [closed]

Why and when does Newton's 3rd law violate in relativistic mechanics? Check this link.
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Increased mass from signals traveling close to the speed of light

As you travel close to the speed of light, it is to my understanding you gain mass. Does this also apply when the brain sends electrical signals to the muscles? Do the signals (that are traveling at ...
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Only one invariant speed in special relativity

This is taken from Rindler's Special Relativity: Any effect whose speed in vacuum is always the same could have used to derive the Lorentz Transformation, as light was used in our derivation. Only ...
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25 views

Homogeneity of the Lorentz Transformation

The standard Lorentz transformation is linear and homogeneous. This fact implies the following: $\Delta t'= \gamma\ (\Delta t - \frac{v \Delta x}{c^2}),\ \Delta x'= \gamma\ (\Delta x - v \Delta t),\ ...
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Do objects have energy because of their charge?

My gut feeling tells me things should have energy because of their charge, like they have energy because of their mass. Is this possible? Has it been shown? If not then what is missing to make such ...
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At what velocity would a body need to travel at to experience noticeable (couple minutes) time distortion?

When a person experiences higher speeds, the light must travel a greater distance to reach the person whom is moving compared to that whom is staying still. Right? So therefore, light takes slightly ...
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286 views

Understanding bending light beam perpendicular to motion

I'm just reading a book about gravity. An example it gives is a spaceship accelerating. A beam of light travelling at right angles to the direction of movement of the spaceship enters it via a small ...